Urawa no Usagi-chan

Urawa no Usagi-chan

IMG_1915.PNGUrawa no Usagi-chan is a series centered around the daily goings-on of eight young girls going to school in Saitama prefecture’s Urawa district. Usagi, Tokiwa, Minami, Sakura, Midori, Kojika, Saiko and Misono let their unique personalities play off against one another as their fun-filled school life unfolds.

This series is your usual anime short slice-of-life setting featuring the school days of a group of young girls. It’s got that standard, relaxed air and satisfies the average viewers curiosity with Japan. It includes some interesting tourism aspects with some live action visuals that have an interesting anime colouring.

Because it’s an anime short, there’s not a lot going on story-wise, but we meet Usagi and the rest of her friends and the show slowly reveals more characters in a variety of everyday situations. It’s an anime made up of simple interactions that make up the basis of its mildly humorous journey – such as Minami talking about Tokiwa and comparing her to an ogre whilst not realising that she is silently hovering above her. It’s that type of humour. It’s not a lot, but it does a good job of conveying a typical life of a group of high school students portrayed in a light-hearted way.

A slice-of-life anime short is something that I find myself eager to watch, but they have both pros and cons – it’s short, snappy and not particularly hyperactive, but you don’t get the chance to identify overly with the characters and, in my opinion, if you have a cast of characters that are, for all intents and purposes, just getting on with their daily lives, you want to be at least a little bit invested in their personalities and their antics. This is where I find myself mentally drawing comparisons between this and Kinmoza.

Taking place in the Urawa district in Saitama (pretty much serving as a tourism advertisement for the area), we get a decent look at life within the district through the eyes of several high school girls. The main focus is on Usagi, who is your standard bright and bubbly kind of girl who is loving her life in Saitama. Not surprisingly, there’s not a lot of character depth in this anime since the episodes are only a few minutes long, but the viewer gets to meet Usagi on her way to school and other situations where she connects with her friends. It’s all very mellow and simple in a nice way without being too over the top.

There’s lots of animated pieces to be enjoyed, which work off of photographs that have been re-coloured and re-touched to blend in with the actual show so that the viewers get to look at the district itself. Aside from impressive elements such as this, the anime as a whole is very light and inoffensive as it begins to introduce and connect the audience with the first handful of characters. The animation, for a short, is okay with some lovely backgrounds to feast your eyes on.

But Usagi suffers from a sizeable cast and not having enough time to develop them. It’s focused more on being a laid-back, touristy experience so it doesn’t really appeal to me as much as Kinmoza does, or even Non Non Biyori.

If this review seems a bit lacklustre, it’s because I can’t really find anything of real substance to talk about. I didn’t really have any expectations about this series – it’s being used as a promotional tool, I imagine, but I never really saw any publicity in the run-up to it being launched. As the story progresses, I am beginning to associate myself with the characters and their standardised archetypes, and I guess they work well in the very light situations that they’re put in. However, I’m still not seeing any real depth being explored (apart from in the lovely backgrounds of the Urawa district).

Urawa no Usagi-chan leaves me with a kind of empty feeling and the knowledge that though this anime is very easy on the eyes, it’s doubtful that there will be anything more going for it as episodes continue. It’s only a couple of minutes out of your week to watch, but it’s rather forgettable. As a result, this one has already fallen into the shadows of similar, more interesting animes of the season at this early stage.